Yoshida Chizuko 吉田千鶴子 (1924-2017)
“Throughout her long artistic career, she has explored the connections between such international art movements as abstract expressionism, op art, and minimalism, and more traditional Japanese themes and concerns, [b]ridging the gap between the two worlds..." - A Japanese Legacy Four Generations of Yoshida Family Artists.
It was her association with, and marriage to, Hodaka in June 1953 that changed her focus from painting to printmaking. With that change her exhibition venues also changed to those of the major print organizations such as the Japan Print Association (Nihon Hanga Kyōkai), which she joined in 1954, and the CWAJ (College Women’s Association of Japan), where she has shown for over 45 years. Over the years, she has exhibited in many international art and print biennials.
Entering into the Yoshida family gave her opportunities for international travel and in 1957-1958 she toured America, England, France, Spain, Italy and various Asian countries with Hodaka and Fujio “an experience that became an important catalyst for her art…”3 Travel would continue to inspire her work, as in the print Red Fort (an Indian landmark), shown on the left.
Fujio, Hodaka, and Chizuko Yoshida, 1957 at Dallas Museum of Fine Arts
In 1958 Chizuko gave birth to her daughter Ayomi4, an artist known for her woodblock prints and her large-scale installations and in 1959 her son Takasuke, an artistic jewelry maker, was born.
Although she and Hodaka shared an affinity for certain techniques and themes over the years of their marriage, Chizuko honed her own distinctive and original artistic vision. In her best-known abstractions, she expressed the ephemeral beauty of natural phenomena and the innate paradoxes in nature’s bounty: the balance between delicacy and strength, the variety within repetition, and the quality of transience as a prelude to regeneration.
In her earlier works, music was a recurring theme, such as in the print Jazz, shown below. Later, in the mid-1960s, she was to embrace deep embossing which added a 3-dimensionality to her work, as in the 1966 print White Strada A, shown below.
"Her woodblock prints range from geometric abstraction [as can be seen in this collection's 1954 print Windows] to music to phenomena in nature to beautiful gestures composed of butterflies or flowers. Underlying her compositions is an inner strength, the recollection of an indelible moment. A refined Japanese aesthetic prevails within her use of various modern international styles."5
In December 2014, Chizuko was one of five Japanese women artists featured in the Portland Art Museum’s exhibition organized by curator Maribeth Graybill titled “Breaking Barriers: Japanese Women Print Artists 1950–2000." Chizuko's works were again exhibited in the Portland Art Museum's 2020-2021 exhibition curated by Jeannie Kenmotsu titled "Joryū Hanga Kyōkai, 1956–1965 Japan’s Women Printmakers."
Koto Kusuko wo tobu P, 2001
Prints in Collection
click on thumbnail for print details